NJ LT. GOVERNOR JOINS EDEN AUTISM SERVICES TO CUT RIBBON ON
Hamilton, NJ – More than 100 friends, families and community members gathered on Tuesday, January 22nd to celebrate the opening of Eden Autism Services Briggs/Dobias Adult Employment centers in Hamilton, NJ. The long-awaited opening provides space for gainful employment for more than 60 adults with autism. In attendance was Hamilton’s Mayor Kelly Yaede and the Lt. Governor of New Jersey, Kim Guadagno.
The original Briggs/Dobias Centers suffered water damage from severe flooding caused by hurricane Irene which made the Centers uninhabitable. Until a suitable replacement facility could be found, the Eden participants made do by sharing space with another one of Eden’s adult employment centers located in West Windsor.
With the help of a dedicated facilities committee and longtime Eden friend and supporter Jerry Fennelly of NAI Fennelly, Eden found a new home in Hamilton. KSS Architects, who also designed Eden’s new Education and Outreach Center, was hired to retrofit the Hamilton space along with Chuck Klein Consulting and Valley Contractors Inc.
“Since 1983, Eden has provided employment services for adults with autism,” says Jamie Douglas, Managing Director of Eden Adult Services. “This new facility allows us to expand our capabilities and provides us the room we need to accommodate the growing adult population. Adults with autism can continue to learn, be productive, and earn an income. We are committed to providing each and every one of our adults the opportunity to become contributing members of their community.”
The new facility is almost 17,000 square feet and includes eight work rooms, a commercial kitchen, lunch rooms, an exercise room, office space and a training center. The space provides adults with autism the opportunity to learn and practice work skills, fulfill subcontract services such as mailing, assembly jobs and a newly launched jewelry making program. Eden’s community-based employment program will continue to expand with this additional location.
“We are proud to be a part of helping Eden achieve its mission of providing lifespan services to empower individuals with autism to live meaningful, productive lives,” said Merilee Meacock, AIA, LEED AP, partner at KSS Architects, designers of the new employment facility. “This new facility in Hamilton, NJ gives Eden the space it needs to provide invaluable training and development.”
“The need for funding for adult services is crucial,” says Tom McCool, President & CEO of Eden. “The latest statistics indicate that 1 in 88 American children have some form of autism. Children with autism grow up to become adults with autism and although for children there is a federal law that guarantees them the right to a free and appropriate public education, that doesn’t happen with adults. As children age out of their entitlement to services, more and more families are left to struggle with the challenges of taking care of an adult child with autism.”
Eden Adult Services provides essential support to families at the critical moment when individuals with autism reach adulthood and are no longer entitled to receive educational services. Employment training and placement, as well as residential programs, are core to Eden’s mission to provide lifespan services and to empower individuals with autism to live meaningful, productive lives. Eden’s Adult Employment services are designed to provide program participants with work experience and to give them the opportunity to earn an income. Eden participants are employed at over 30 different paid community job placements. A number of community employers also contract with Eden participants to do mailing, packaging, and assembly work.
Eden Adult Employment Program is CARF (Commission on Accreditation and Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited, which is an assurance that the organization meets rigorous guidelines for service and quality and conforms to nationally and internationally recognized service standards. For more information about hiring an adult with autism call (609) 570-2620.
Since 1975, the not-for-profit Eden Autism Services has provided early intervention, education, employment training and residential services for children and adults with autism. Eden offers both in-person and online support and training programs for families and professionals. Recognized nationally, Eden is headquartered in Princeton, NJ. For more information about Eden visit www.edenautism.org or call (609) 987-0099. Follow Eden on Facebook, Twitter, and EdWeb.net.